Citizen

April 5th, 2003 I arrived and slept in my old college friend’s walk-in closet. It was pretty comfortable to be honest. I knew one person. I had a backpack, half of which was filled with CD’s (pre-iPod era), a guitar and $300. But I had promise of a job and got my first weeks wages upfront. I could write a book about those first six months, but I can no longer relate to that person anymore.

If I have found a common thread amongst other immigrants, it is this – You only experience New York City for the first time, once. And you’ll spend the rest of your life here trying to recapture it.

I am an American citizen as of January 8th, 2019.

The blessings of liberty.

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The Bitter End, NYC.

Supersmall finished 2018 with a full band show at The Bitter End on December 22nd. Thanks to all who came out. We had a great crowd which always makes getting further shows all that more easier. Supersmall on the night was yours truly, Daniela Schiller (Drums), Al Hoberman (Bass), Jennifer Coates (Violin) and David Humphrey (Sax). Look how big we’ve grown 😉 Check our calendar for upcoming shows in 2019. And yes, our third album is under way. Stay tuned…

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The Beach.

A bar is the beach for people who can’t swim. This is what my friend Roger told me one night as we scanned the The Kettle of Fish one bustling, rainy Thursday evening. Propped up at the corner, our favorite spot, the collective white noise of everything and everyone heaved and ebbed like waves. I couldn’t have agreed more.

I never thought i’d be that lone guy who sits at a bar, talks to strangers, has one or two drinks and leaves. But I am. I can’t think of a better place than New York City to do this. I have my favorite spots, some have closed down, others haven’t change at all in the fifteen years i’ve been here.

Earlier this week I drove into the city to pick up some equipment I left behind at a venue I had performed in the previous Friday. It was close to one of my favorite dives, The Double Down Saloon so of course I ventured in for one. The rear patio during the summer is a filthy oasis lined with fire escapes. Now the weather has turned I like to sit by the window and watch the chaos where avenue A meets Houston. I regret not visiting the east village or lower east side when I visited NYC in the 90’s. It seems a shadow of itself now. I still love it though. I pull out my notebook but instead of working on lyrics I daydream out the window or make small talk with the bartender. I’m foolish to think this will ever play out any other way. Why be productive when I could be calm?

When I drive I allow myself two beers, this is an unbreakable rule. If I feel like having more, i’ll drive home or dump the car. So for my second I walk across the street to The Library, a bar I hadn’t been in since I first performed Supersmall songs at UCB East Theater two blocks away. After that show we all crammed in the back and got ridiculous with some of the audience that trailed in with us. The bar itself hasn’t changed in six years, but tonight it is lined with young kids reading thick books, buldging shopping bags at their feet and eating take out. I get my beer and a small dinosaur which indicates my next drink is free as it’s still happy hour. I know I won’t use it (two beer limit, i’m driving) so I give to the girl sitting to my right. It’s starts a conversation I soon regret. She’s drunk, and nuts, and privileged enough to talk over me, the bar girl and anyone else wither own options that are barely coherent. Marisa texts to see if I am still in the city. I agree to drive to Varick Street and pick her up. When I arrive the cops pull up behind me and turn on their lights. No siren so I know they just want me to move on. In the confusion that is that part of the city I find myself in a lane of traffic that takes me to the holland tunnel. Next stop, New Jersey. Fuck! I text Marisa, she’ll have to Uber home. No idea how long it will take me to get back to NYC, let alone to Varick Street. It’s hard to even be a pedestrian down there.

A toilet break is desperately needed but as I emerge from the tunnel I am blocked in by traffic that seems like its down for the night. I break left and drive south into what quickly becomes the suburbs. I look for a park, a laneway or anywhere to take a quick, discrete relief stop. Nothing but brownstones and speed bumps. I see a neon light in the distance. A bar.

I find a spot directly outside. I’ll grab just one, three beers in three hours? I’ll be fine. It’s a little on the fancy side. All waistcoats and stiff white shirts. I sit at the corner by the window with a clearly inebriated business man to my left. He looks miserable as he pours vodkas into himself. His shiny red face only looks up from his phone to indicate  for another. I’ve felt like that before. I’m not judging. Families start to come in and fill the tables at the back. Kids are well behaved but their parents look exhausted and get testy over which table to sit at.  Its a war of attrition as more couples arrive also looking for prime spots wielding weaponized politeness . I’m safe and isolated at the corner of the bar and the beer, without fail provides its usual welcome relief from anxiety. Burning coals, stabbing pins, constant flight or flight responses and a persistant struggle to breathe all drown in the crashing white noise that washes over me. The shallow social victories being fought out around me drift away. I’ll leave for home soon. Until then, all I hear is the ocean.

 

Supersmall @ Rock Valley Schoolhouse.

Back in August I had the pleasure to play four songs at one of my favorite places to perform, The Rock Valley Schoolhouse in Long Eddy, New York. I debuted two new songs, Astronaut & Moksha Patam. It was part of a larger show and I managed to get some of the footage. See below.

  1. This Other World
  2. Astronaut
  3. Moksha Patam
  4. Silent Moon

Ruby Rae @ The Oculus, NY.

Another fun show before an outdoor movie at The Oculus, NY. It was a kid’s movie so obviously, lots of kids :-/ This was minutes before they stormed the stage. Yours truly on bass.

 

Rome, Italy Tour, February 2018

The Amygdaloids/So We Are & Supersmall (Solo) performed in Rome recently. It was fun and my first time visiting the city. Marisa of course, being Italian American loved it. It was also her first time joining me on tour. We walked everywhere, clocking 12 miles a day according to my iPhone. We ate the best food I’ve ever had, drank wine in take out cups in the light rain at fountains, got lost and found cool side streets and bars but mostly just remained in awe of the sights and sounds of a bustling ancient place. There is much to say about the city, culture, people and the fun we had but I’m going to be lazy and just post the photos below.

Stay tuned for upcoming Supersmall shows in the city, and tours to Washington DC, Mexico and the West Coast, and some other cool stuff that is in the works. Oh, and the new album has been written. Finally. Well, still some tweaking but it should be ready for demos soon.